Tony Davis, author of The Big Dry
Tell us about your latest creation:
The Big Dry is a “tween” adventure story, set in a modern city where it hasn’t rained for seven years. Order has broken down and massive dust storms regularly blast across the increasingly dilapidated metropolis. Against this backdrop, two abandoned children are trying to survive: George, who has just turned thirteen, and his six-year-old brother “Beeper”. They have a fortified house but supplies of food and fresh water are dwindling. When it seems things can’t get much worse, the mysterious Emily breaks into their house and their lives and refuses to leave. It is aimed at the tween market – upper primary and lower high school – which is a really interesting and quite challenging age to write for.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
Always a writer, the only question was what type of writer.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
Always the latest … that’s one advantage of being a writer ahead of an athlete. You should get better with age.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
It’s packed but pretty organised. I need a good chair and good music (with no words)to write well. And lots of tea.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
Everything: kids and general titles, fiction and non. About to start Paul Barry’s new Murdoch family book – as soon as i finish this rather large Russian novel (Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman; it is extraordinary).
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
Animal Farm by George Orwell. So clever on so many levels, even if I didn’t understand most of them at nine or ten.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
Many of the characters I really admire … well, things don’t necessarily end very well for them. I think I’ll stick with being me.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
Knocking around with my three school-age sons. Listening to music. Cycling. OK, no big surprises there. Sorry. I also test fast cars for a newspaper, but that’s kind of work.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
Rocquefort cheese and coffee.
Who is your hero? Why?:
George Orwell. Fearless in print, fearless in life.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
Keeping young people engaged in a world with so many tempting alternatives.
Website URL: www.thebigdry.com.au